Self-Voicing link

Ren'Py supports a self-voicing mode in which a speech synthesizer is used to read out text and other interface elements. This is intended to make Ren'Py games accessible to the vision impaired.

The Self-voicing mode can be toggled by pressing the v key.

When in self-voicing mode, keyboard navigation is changed so that the up and down arrow keys with iterate through all focusable displayables on the screen.

When a displayable is focused, Ren'Py will read the text associated with that displayable out loud. If no displayable is focused, Ren'Py will read on-screen text that cannot be focused. This will generally include dialogue and other text that comprises the game.

Speech Synthesis link

Ren'Py relies on the operating system to provide speech synthesis services. To adjust the speed of speech synthesis and the voice used, adjust your platform's speech settings.


On Windows, Ren'Py uses the Microsoft Speech API. Speech synthesis settings can be changed on the "Text to Speech" tab of the "Speech Recognition" control panel.

Mac OS X

On Mac OS X, Ren'Py uses the say command. Speech synthesis settings can be changed on the "Text to Speech" tab of the "Dictation & Speech" control panel.


On Linux, Ren'Py uses the espeak command. Espeak may need to be installed using your package manager before self-voicing mode will work.

Android, iOS, Chrome OS

Self-voicing mode is not supported on Android, iOS, or Chrome OS.

The default voice can be selected on a per-platform basis, using the config.tts_voice variable. For example:

init python:

        config.tts_voice = "Mark"
    elif renpy.macintosh:
        config.tts_voice = "Alex"
    elif renpy.linux:
        config.tts_voice = "english_rp"

The available voice vary based on the platform.

Creator Concerns link

Ren'Py's self-voicing works by extracting text from displayables and reading it to the player. Ren'Py extracts this text from multiple places.

Text displayables

Ren'Py will extract text from a Text displayable, and make it available to be read to the player.

Alternative text

Alternative text is supplied by a displayable's alt style property. It can also be supplied by instances of the Action and BarValue classes. Explicitly supplied alternative text takes precedence over text supplied by Actions or BarValues, and both take precedence over text extracted from Text displayables.

Alternative text is translated using Ren'Py's string translation mechanism. Alternative text takes precedence over text extracted from a displayable and its children, but such child text is made available as the "[text]" string substitution. No other string substitutions are allowed.

For example:

screen information(message, planet, badness):
    text message:
        color color_from_badness(badness)
        alt "Information for you : [text]. Badness is " + str(badness)

    text "ORIGIN_OF_MESSAGE_{color=#f00}[planet!u]{/color}":
        alt "Origin of message is " + planet

In the above example, the badness and planet variables cannot be substituted directly using "[badness]". Concatenating it manually is a solution.

Supplying the who_alt and what_alt parameters to Character sets the alt style property for the character name and body text, respectively. As an example, we define a Character that uses italics to indicate thoughts normally, but explicitly indicates thoughts via self voicing:

define thought = Character(None, what_italic=True, what_alt="I think, [text]")

In screens, displayables may be given the group_alt property, which is used to give a group prefix that is spoken the first time a displayable with the same group prefix is focused, but will not be spoken again until a displayable with a different group prefix is focused.

Displayables may also be given the extra_alt property, which is spoken when the '?' key is pressed while the displayable is focused. This is intended for more detail information about how a group of controls works.

Descriptive Text

Descriptive text is text that is displayed (and spoken) by the narrator if self-voicing is enabled. The text is not displayed if self-voicing is disabled. Self-voicing text uses the alt variable, which is defined to be similar to a character.

alt = ... link

A character-like object that uses the narrator to speak text if self-voicing is enabled.

For example:

e "Hang on, this is gonna be a bumpy ride!"

alt "And then the sun exploded..."

# A complex and exciting cut scene.
show event sun_exploding
pause 10

There is a variable that controls descriptive text:

define config.descriptive_text_character = None link

If not None, this should be a character object that is used to display the descriptive text, instead of the narrator.

The config.tts_substitutions variable can be used to substitute words in the text being spoken, to better control pronunciation. The config.tts_voice variable can be used to select the voice used to speak text from the voices on a platform.

A self-voicing debug mode can be enabled by typing Shift+Alt+V. This will display the text that would be voiced on the screen for development purposes.

Python link

The following functions are provided by the self-voicing system:

renpy.alt(s, translate=True, force=False) link

This queues s to be spoken. If translate is true, then the string will be translated before it is spoken. If force is true, then the string will be spoken even if self-voicing is disabled.

This is intended for accessibility purposes, and should not be used for gameplay purposes.